Rustic Red Velvet Cake Layered with Berries

Easy and Moist Red Velvet Cake Recipe that's Rustic & Layered with lots of Berries on

Way back in 2003 when Todd was managing Cafe Zinc, we would often have staff parties at the house. It was always a blast because everyone was able to wind down, relax and be able to be fed food instead of having the role of feeding others all day long. Todd and I would spend a few days prepping, cooking and be in party-planning-mode, which is where we always loved to be.

Gatherings over at our house were actually an escape for us, to explore, cook and get creative in the kitchen. It never felt like work. Well, let’s take that back. It only felt like work when we had to wash all the wine glasses.

What made these staff parties a true success was because of a staff member named Nicole. She’s my baking hero and I’ll never, ever forget the impact she made on me when it came to baking cakes.

Easy and Moist Red Velvet Cake Recipe that's Rustic & Layered with lots of Berries on

Nicole would arrive, bearing in her arms, with big bags of homemade candy, truffles, sweets and most importantly, at least 2-3 glorious cakes. She was a culinary student specializing in pastry, desserts and everything sweet. What she also specialized in was inspiring me to mind-blowing proportions. Quite frankly, she was just beyond talented. And I was always in a state of “uber-inspired”.

Her cakes were not only beautifully simple and elegant, but they were also delicious. Every cake was just as delicious tasting on the inside as it was beautiful looking on the outside.  Her cakes weren’t too sweet, they were always tender and moist on the inside and the flavors of each ingredient came through wonderfully.

Easy and Moist Red Velvet Cake Recipe that's Rustic & Layered with lots of Berries on

I’ve often found myself mesmerized by a beautiful looking cake, yet when it came time to tasting it, the look of the cake wasn’t on the level of the flavor. It always feel like a waste of calories and an un-inspired visit to the gym when I eat bad cake. But Nicole never left me in that state of disappointment. I was always on cloud 9 with great cake everywhere.

Because of Nicole, I soon started making my own cakes on a weekly basis. Because of her, my love of cake baking ignited months worth of baking, testing and eating. All of our parties afterwards had a homemade cake (or two) to share with all our friends.

Sadly, as that phase in our lives became the past instead of the present, I became so wrapped up in work that I stopped baking my bakes. But not any more.

Easy and Moist Red Velvet Cake Recipe that's Rustic & Layered with lots of Berries on

I’m back to working on my love of cake baking and am starting with our favorite red velvet cake recipe. It’s a tested, tried and true recipe. Our bulging bellies are proof that we’ve eaten way too many red velvet cakes and it’s time for the gym.

Next cake on my list? To duplicate my favorite cake that Nicole made: a pistachio and almond cake that was to die for. Wish me luck! I’ll share it when it’s finished and after I’ve eaten a few cakes all for my self. Well, maybe more like a slice from several cakes. ha!



5 from 1 vote
Red Velvet Cake Recipe
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Cooling Time
4 hrs

This is our go-to recipe for red velvet cake that has a great chocolate-ty flavor. For the red color, we used Americolor #119 Red Red Gel (yes, that's 2 red's in a row. Not a typo). We've also tested this recipe for cupcakes and it comes out great every time! Also, if you love cream cheese frosting,  you can always make extra frosting!

Makes one 9-inch cake

Servings: 12 servings
Cake Ingredients:
  • 2 cups (275g) cake flour
  • 1/4 cup (22g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup (60ml)vegetable oil
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) liquid red food coloring or about 1 Tablespoon (15ml) Americolor #119 Red Red color Gel
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups (300g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 113g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
Frosting and Finishing Ingredients:
  • Two (8oz - 225g) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 113g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups (270g) powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Mix of fresh berries (about 1.5 pounds - 680g). If you're using strawberries, slice them.
For Baking the Cake:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F.

  2. Grease or butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans (or line the bottom with parchment paper).
  3. Sift or whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

  4. Whisk together buttermilk, vegetable oil, red food coloring, vinegar and vanilla in a medium bowl until well blended. Set aside.

  5. In a stand mixer bowl (if using a hand electric mixer use a large bowl) beat together sugar and butter in until combined well.  Then add one egg at a time into the butter/sugar mixture until everything is well blended.
  6. Beat in 1/2 of the dry flour mixture and 1/2 of the wet buttermilk mixture until smooth. Repeat with remaining dry and wet mixtures until batter is smooth.
  7. Pour the batter divided into the two 9-inch cake pans. Scrape the bowl using a rubber spatula to ensure all the batter is used.
  8. Bake the cakes for about 25-30 minutes or until cake is baked through. Insert a toothpick tester into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it's cooked.
  9. Cool the cakes, then gently turn them over and release them onto cooling racks. Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting.
For Frosting and Finishing the Cake:
  1. In large bowl, add cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla. Cream together all the ingredients until smooth and creamy.
  2. Gently cut each cake in half horizontally to make 4 layers of cake. Then spread about one-fourth of the cream cheese frosting over 1 layer of cake. Layer about 1/4 of the berries over the frosting. Repeat the same steps over the remaining cake layers. Top the final layer with berries.
{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. Leo's Man and Van

    Looks so good I gained a couple of pounds and got diabetes just by looking at the pics.

  2. Acton

    Oh my gosh…I made one of those to my husband last night and he fell in love with all over again 🙂 so to speak. Will make another one soon for sure. Thank you so much for this recipe.

  3. Will

    Just what I’ve been looking for. A summer cake! Thank you!

  4. ProLux Oven@Cleaning

    Thanks God I have a garden full of berries and thanks God for this article, really the best idea so far what else to do with them, other than just cook jams…

  5. Jeri Shirey

    This cake is gorgeous! And I bet it tastes incredible, too

  6. Dylan From Clean Oven Now

    I had a really big supply of berries the other day. I have to cook them fast, before they get bad, and perhaps this is by far the best way I found. I will try the recipe at home tonight, hope to be a success!

  7. meghan

    i am so excited to make this cake for my husband’s birthday. thank you for sharing your recipe!

  8. Katie

    I made this cake today in hopes of sharing it with a group of friends. It came out wonderfully! However, as I was trying to touch up icing on the side, the cake pan lost it’s balance and toppled to my kitchen floor. I was devastated! Definitely ate parts of it that didn’t touch the tile though and was so impressed. This cake is light and moist and incredibly flavorful! I’ll definitely be making it again and being much more careful 😉

    1. White on Rice Couple

      That’s awesome and sad all in one. So glad you loved the cake!

  9. Rose

    This looks great! I love recipes that use fresh berries. I’m going to make it today.

    However, does anyone else wonder what we are supposed to do with the vegetable oil in the ingredients??

  10. Blanca

    wow, this looks amazing, and the addition of the fresh berries makes me want to try it soon.

    The only problem is that I do not have to 9-inch cake pans, only one. I usually then carefully slice the finished cake, but here I’m wondering about the cooking time. Would you have an idea on how long I should have it in the oven?

    Also, you said you had tested this recipe for cupcakes, would you be able to let us know the oven time?

    Thanks a million!


  11. Medha @ Whisk & Shout

    I love this! Red velvet has been done so many different time and so many different ways, but this (no pun intended) takes the cake! I love the rustic appeal it has, and the colors make it just right for the 4th 🙂

  12. Shirley @ Maggie's Oven

    I love the story but even more i like the cake 😀 I just wonder if i can combine it with a drink and i cannot think of anything. Something fruity maybe? One of those small fruity smirnoff ? Can someone think of proper drink for the case?

    1. Blanca

      Hi Shirley!

      I’m no expert, but with a sweet and fruity cake like this one I would go for something not sweet and not fruity, more contrasting.

      What aboout a lime & basil gin&tonic with a smooth non-bitter gin like Plymouth?

  13. Phoebe Lapine @FeedMePhoebe

    This cake is gorgeous! And I bet it tastes incredible, too. 🙂

  14. Abbe@This is How I Cook

    Well, I just have one thing to say. Thank goodness for Nicole. This looks fabulous!

  15. Julie Ashborn

    This looks amazing! I love red velvet and I love the deconstructed take on it. Can’t wait to make this for my friend’s birthday in September since her two favorite cakes are red velvet and Sweet Lady Jane’s Triple Berrry cake. This is the perfect combination of the two!


    Incredible! This blog looks just like my old one! It’s on a entirely different topic but it has pretty much the same page layout and
    design. Excellent choice of colors!

  17. Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic

    I’m glad you’re back to baking cakes. I love cake, especially layer cakes, and most especially ones that aren’t fussy (aka rustic!)

  18. Emily

    I’m pretty sure this tastes as delicious as it looks, which makes me think I need to try it!

  19. terri

    as usual, the photographs are gorgeous–but after watching your CreativeLive workshop, i’m never going to be able to look at one of your photos without “seeing” you two talk through and set up the shot, from the lighting to the linens. 🙂

  20. Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence

    You two have outdone yourselves here. This is gooooorgeous!! I love the berry addition.

    1. Annice Pinkard

      Great story

  21. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    Such a gorgeous cake! Holy smokes!

  22. Laura (Tutti Dolci)

    Love the rustic beauty of this cake, I want to grab a fork and dig in!

  23. The Bearfoot Baker

    I love this cake and can’t wait to see what you will bake next. It looks amazing!

  24. Belinda@themoonblushbaker

    This makes me so happy. I love reading your stories since they are so inspirational. Love the wonky layers and falling berries; rustic will always have a place in my heart. So pretty

  25. Elvira

    Diane, I would just love to sit down with you and eat a slice of this beautiful red velvet cake, That’s it! 🙂

  26. Norma | allspice and nutmeg

    Great story, Diane. This cake is simply gorgeous. I’m a sucker for fruit filled cakes that are not loaded with sugary frosting. Love this!

  27. Averie @ Averie Cooks

    Wonderful story-telling, Diane! And I love that you’re feeling re-inspired to bake. And bake cakes no less! Aren’t we all the lucky ones. I love that opening shot, too. The rustic elegance, the cake stand, the semi-tipped layers, it’s just so fabulous. Pinned!

Leave a Reply